Trainee Support Service


Professional Support & Wellbeing Unit (PSWU)

The Professional Support & Wellbeing Unit (PSWU) has been established to provide advice to training programmes and support for doctors and dentists in training working across the North East and North Cumbria experiencing difficulty which is affecting their ability to train. Consultants, other locally employed doctors or dentists should be managed through their employer structures. Please see our supporting documents and policies regarding the PSWU below: 

PSWU Framework 

Referral to Education Support

Educational Support Coaching Information

Process for PSWU OH Referral 

Process for PSWU ESS Referral 

Attendance management policy  

Doctors and Dentists (in training) with differing needs guidance

The core principles of the PSWU are:

To support Postgraduate Doctors to maximise their professional progression by providing them with the right support and right strategies at the right time to assist them to succeed in their training

To provide advice to educational leads

To promote early identification of Postgraduate Doctors requiring additional support to progress in their training

To develop a network of experienced individuals who can deal with specific issues and identify alternative resources

To ensure a responsible use of funding and resources

To support Postgraduate Doctors during the process of leaving a training programme in the rare event that support and remediation are unsuccessful

To facilitate equal access to educational support

The Professional Support & Wellbeing Service consists of two main elements:

1. Occupational Health including specialist psychotherapy services

The occupational health service is available to doctors and dentists in training employed by the Lead Employer Trust (LET).  Postgraduate Doctors not employed by the LET will access occupational health services through their employer. 

The role of the occupational health service is to:

- Provide a full pre-employment / placement screening service and operate in conjunction with the management of attendance policy of the LET

- Advise the individual, LET and Foundation / Training Programme Director (F/TPD) on reasonable adjustments to the training environment that maybe considered to support the Postgraduate Doctor to remain or return to their training/workplace

- Provide short term support to the Postgraduate Doctor if appropriate whilst they arrange longer term solutions

The occupational health service is not a diagnostic or therapeutic service. Postgraduate Doctors with suspected health issues requiring diagnosis or treatment should access this through NHS services via their General Practitioner. A request for an Occupational Health review should be made by the Foundation / Training Programme Director (F/TPD) through the LET as the employer. There is no self-referral process for doctors and dentists in training but information on the management of common musculoskeletal conditions, guides for common mental health conditions, control of infection queries or minor ailments is available through the website, email or telephone options listed below:

Email  Telephone (0191) 282 1188 and selecting option 1. 

2. Educational Support Service

This service is available to all doctors and dentists in training who meet the referral threshold.  The service provides access to confidential coaching, advice and education support in a wide range of areas including; confidence and decision making, personal effectiveness including prioritisation and delegation and communication skills.

To enable the Education Support Service to provide the most appropriate support for the Postgraduate Doctor, working alongside the School support structures, referral forms must be completed in liaison with the Postgraduate Doctor. This is to ensure a mutual understanding of the reasons for the referral, actions already in place and support requested.

There is no self-referral process but Postgraduate Doctors may choose to access confidential coaching outside the Educational Support service via Coachnet  

If Postgraduate Doctors in secondary care experience any potential exposure to blood born viruses through needle stick, bite or scratch whilst in the workplace:

In hours: this should be reported initially to the host training unit Trust occupational health service. They will carry out the appropriate assessment and management and inform the PSWU occupational health service of the incidence who will then coordinate the follow up care.

Out of hours: this should be reported to the host Trust Emergency Department, who will carry out the appropriate assessment and management. The Postgraduate Doctor should report the incident to the PSWU occupational health service the next day for continued support.

Any GP or dentist who sustains a needlestick injury should phone PSWU occupational health service advice line (0191) 2821188 or contact them by email  Out of hour these Posegraduate Doctors should attend their local Emergency Department for a risk assessment and inform PSWU occupational health the next day for continued support.

Support for Doctors

If you or a colleague is looking for support there are a range of organisations, services and websites which can offer help.

For information visit: 

 Academy of Medical Royal Colleges 

Also see the blog below for the rational for the support.

Blog: Professor Carrie MacEwen


Sudden Death in Doctors in Training

For information visit:

Health Education England